Apple Files Patent For Device That Would Allow Your iPhone or iPad To Function As A Laptop
On Thursday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that Apple had submitted a patent for an “electronic accessory device.”
The device in question is actually an accessory meant to allow your iPhone or iPad to function as a laptop computer. In short, the device is a simply the shell of laptop featuring a keyboard, ports, a display, etc. In order to make the device function as a computer, you will need to use your IOS mobile device.
The patent mentions several different variations, but the bulk of the document is spent detailing the laptop variety so that is probably the one we will assuming this product ever makes it to market.
In terms of interfacing with the shell’s host, the patent mentions the possibility of a slot where you could insert your device. It is also possible that sync the device’s via Wifi, Bluetooth or similar wireless means. The patent specifically mentions that the shell will have some sort of onboard memory to expand your device’s capabilities. Some variations mention a modified OS or firmware that would be used to modify the IOS OS for use on a traditional laptop.
Obviously, such a device will not be as powerful as a traditional Macbook, but one variation mentioned in the patent implies that this accessory is more than just a shell for your IOS device. It is possible that the accessory will come with an onboard GPU that will allow it perform tasks too intensive for a mobile device. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that Apple would release multiple versions of this accessory with the GPU-variants being more expensive than the basic shell.
In addition to providing the core computing power for the shell, the IOS device may also function as part of an input device. The drawings submitted with the patent show the iPhone positioned in a similar location as a traditional laptop’s trackpad.
It should be noted that just because Apple has filed a patent for this technology does not mean they intend to use it. It’s possible they simply filed it for legal purposes, but have no intention of actually bringing this product to market.
Eric is an avid tech junkie, gamer, and comic fan. When he's not working on his PC, you'll find him at your local comic book shop.